The third baptism was a young girl named Mayara. She is 17 years old, and hasn’t always exactly lived the life of a “Crente” (it’s like Brazilian slang for a Die-Hard Evangelical). She hasn’t had any serious problems with the party life, but she has mentioned that she liked to go out to parties with friends and drink a little. She is what I imagine an average american college student would be like (I use “imagine” here because it’s been more than a year since I’ve been on the mission! Bwahahaha… That’s so weird…) But she decided to leave drinking and coffee and other things that brought guilt and shame behind and follow Christ. And she’s been loving every moment of it.
The fourth baptism was a really special young man named “Sidney”. Sidney was a street contact of ours. He lives in a poorer part of our area. His mother had a heavy crack addiction and abandoned Sidney and Cíntia (his sister who we also baptized) when they were young. We’ve been teaching Sidney for some time, but he has difficulty understanding some of the things we teach him. Regardless, the moment finally came when he was fully prepared. He had changed his life to be in accordance with God’s commandments over a period of about a month or so and the only thing left was baptism in and of itself. He was confirmed yesterday sporting the white shirt and tie that the ward gave him. The Gospel changes lives.
We brought Maurício and Rosemery to the Temple this last Saturday. It was a beautiful moment for all of us. When we asked the mission president for permission to take them there during our normal work day, he gave us the thumbs up and then said “I’ll pass by there and have a few words with Maurício (the currently-unbaptized husband)”. I paused, rather surprised, but gladly and gratefully accepted the offer.
Maurício and Rosemery showed up a little late, but we brought them onto the temple grounds. There was a missionary with his parents (he leaves tomorrow for the States) who was explaining everything in English. We greeted the parents and I started explaining to them what a privilege it was to have known their son (who I had worked with on a division). But the Elder-Son cut me short to remind me that I was speaking in Portuguese to two people who hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was saying. I didn’t even register the fact until he brought it to my attention. It was just so normal explaining everything in Portuguese, and the poor parents were nodding their head and smiling as if they understood… I chuckled a little bit and turned my focus again to Maurício and Rosemery.
We introduced Rosemery to our Mission President, who took us to the visitor’s room in the temple. Maurício and Rosemery were stunned and the quiet and peaceful spirit they felt inside the temple. Maurício explained that he already knew the church was true, he was just waiting until his son left prison so he could be at church every Sunday. Then the temple president’s wife came and greeted our investigators. She said she would bring a magazine on temples for them. When she came back, she brought the Temple President with her. So Maurício and Rosemery got to know the mission and temple president before finally exploring the temple grounds/garden. Lívia, their little daughter had a blast running in the grass (a rarity here in Brasil) and splashing water in the fountain. Rosemery said she wanted to come back with Lívia during the week to feel the gentle spirit again. It was just a beautiful experience all around.
As Elder Sanchez and I pray and fast more and more fervently, I have come to understand the importance of studying the scriptures, praying and fasting. I suppose I originally thought that they were means to plead for and obtain blessings. But I’ve come to realize that their purpose is, first, to understand the will of God as it pertains to our lives; second, to align our will with his; and, third, to ask for strength from Him so that we might perform His work – of charity and obedience and conversion – here on Earth and as such be the source of blessings for others who similarly asking for divine intervention.
It’s good to receive blessings. It’s even better to give them.
I love you all dearly, and I thank you for being a blessing in my life.
Some interesting sites! We just need it in Portuguese…